The Thirsty Beagle: Oklahoma's newest brewer hopes to capitalize on farm-to-bottle concept

Friday, July 14, 2017

Oklahoma's newest brewer hopes to capitalize on farm-to-bottle concept

You can try to pay close attention to the Oklahoma craft beer scene, but every once in a while, things can sneak up on you.

That was the case this week when I discovered there is a new licensed, full-strength brewery in Oklahoma -- one I had never heard of before.

Devil's Claw Ranch is a working ranch located in Roosevelt, about 50 miles northwest of Lawton. In addition to conducting cattle operations on a 2,500-acre plot of land, the ranch is a licensed food manufacturer and facility. They produce breads, spicy pretzels, salsa, granola and other goods that are sold at farmer's markets and through the Oklahoma Food Cooperative.

"I really love the whole food and beverage business," said Seth Callen, one of the ranch's owners. "All the products that we have are products that have been created by me."

Now Callen is adding beer to the menu. In May, Devil's Claw Ranch was granted a license from the federal government to brew beer, and late last month the feds approved the brewery's first label, for a dark wheat beer called Shady 580.

I chatted with Callen to get all the details.

In addition to all his work on the ranch, Callen said he is a passionate beer fan and has been homebrewing for about five years. About two years ago, with an eye on producing beer commercially, he began dialing in a pair of recipes -- one light wheat beer and one dark wheat beer.

Callen said he will eventually produce the beer with wheat and barley grown and malted on the ranch -- the first time in modern Oklahoma beermaking that a brewer would grow its own malts.

He also said he believes he is the only brewer in Oklahoma with a license to self-distribute his beer to liquor stores.

Devil's Claw will not have a taproom, due to its remote location. Callen will deliver beer in 12-ounce bottles to stores, he said, adding that once State Question 792 goes into effect in October 2018, he'll be able to deliver to bars, as well.

"It is a very interesting, exciting business opportunity," Callen said. "But at the same time, I love everything to do with crafting beer."

He said he expects to be filling orders from stores by August or September.

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